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BUCKS COUNTY FAMILY CHARGED IN $20M INSURANCE FRAUD SCHEME

January 29, 2015 by  
Filed under Blog

Five members of a Bucks County family are accused of conspiring to defraud insurance companies in excess of $20 million to live an “excessively extravagant lifestyle,” Attorney General Kathleen Kane announced Thursday.

67-year-old Claire A. Risoldi along with her 64-year-old husband Thomas French, her 48-year-old son Carl Risoldi, her 48-year-old daughter Carla Risoldi, her 43-year-old daughter-in-law Sheila Risoldi, as well as 54-year-old Mark Goldman, a private investigator, and 51-year-old Richard Holston, a fabric vendor turned themselves into authorities Thursday morning.

The investigation resulted in the seizure of approximately $7 million in assets, which the Attorney General called “fruits of the crimes” that could be used for restitution upon conviction. The assets included approximately $3 million in seized bank accounts, $1.2 million in jewelry, and six Ferraris, two Rolls Royces, one Cobra, and four other vehicles worth $2.8 million.

According to the Grand Jury presentment, the investigation began after an October 2013 fire at Claire Risoldi’s home in New Hope, Bucks County, or “Clairemont,” as she referred to it.

Officials say this was the third fire to occur at Clairemont in the past five years, including one in June 2009 and another in August 2010.

Risoldi lived in the home with her husband, son, and daughter-in-law.

Following each of the fires, the Risoldis filed insurance claims with their insurance carrier, which to date has paid out in excess of $20 million in claims for the three fires.

The Risoldis are also seeking $20 million more in insurance claims for the fire, including $10 million for jewelry that the Grand Jury found Claire Risoldi falsely accused the volunteer firefighters, who extinguished the blaze, of stealing.

According to the presentment, the official cause of each fire was “undetermined,” which could include that the fires may not be accidental. In the case of all three fires, the Grand Jury found that there were large quantities of highly flammable materials stockpiled near the points of origin.

Officials say video from a home security system inside Clairemont showed Claire Risoldi left the home a minute before smoke was visible outside and may have been inside while it was burning, which contradicts what she told both law enforcement and insurance representatives.

Authorities say the Grand Jury reviewed evidence that established the Risoldi family had a 20-to 30-year history of filing questionable insurance claims. In one case, officials say, it was discovered in August 2014 that Claire Risoldi still possessed jewelry she claimed was stolen in 1993.

Officials say the Risoldis increased the value of jewelry covered by their insurance policy from $100,000 to nearly $11 million. The final increase in coverage reportedly occurred a mere 25 days before the 2013 fire.

The presentment says Claire, Carl and Carla Risoldi facilitated the receipt of invoices inflated more than ten-fold for Romanesque murals inside Clairemont depicting the family “in flowing robes gazing down from the heavens.”

It says the Risoldis, with assistance and false testimony from Holston, attempted to obtain $2 million for damaged window treatments at Clairemont.

Officials say Claire Risoldi waged a campaign of intimidation of witnesses, including threatening an insurance adjustor and an attorney that was involved in one of the real estate transactions, whom she also attempted to bribe to change her testimony.

They were arraigned and released after posting bail.

The following are the list of charges:

Claire A. Risoldi, Doylestown, Bucks County, is charged with one count each of: corrupt organizations, attempted theft by deception, receiving stolen property, conspiracy to commit theft by deception, intimidation of witnesses or victims, obstructing the administration of law, tampering with public records, criminal use of a communication facility, false reports to law enforcement and insurance fraud; two counts each of: dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities and theft by deception; and three counts of forgery.

Carl A. Risoldi, Doylestown, Bucks County, is charged with one count each of: corrupt organizations, theft by deception, attempted theft by deception, conspiracy to commit theft by deception, intimidation of witnesses or victims, obstructing the administration of law, tampering with public records, criminal use of a communication facility and false reports to law enforcement; two counts each of: dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities and insurance fraud; and three counts of forgery.

Carla V. Risoldi, Doylestown, Bucks County, is charged with one count each of: corrupt organizations, theft by deception, attempted theft by deception, conspiracy to commit theft by deception, intimidation of witnesses or victims, obstructing the administration of law, tampering with public records, criminal use of a communication facility and false reports to law enforcement; two counts each of: dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities and insurance fraud; and three counts of forgery.

Sheila M. Risoldi, Doylestown, Bucks County, is charged with one count each of: corrupt organizations, theft by deception, attempted theft by deception, intimidation of witnesses or victims, obstructing the administration of law, tampering with public records, criminal use of a communication facility and false reports to law enforcement; two counts each of: dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities, insurance fraud and attempted theft by deception; and three counts of forgery.

Thomas J. French, Doylestown, Bucks County, is charged with one count each of: corrupt organizations, theft by deception, attempted theft by deception, conspiracy to commit theft by deception, intimidation of witnesses or victims, obstructing the administration of law, tampering with public records, criminal use of a communication facility, false reports to law enforcement and insurance fraud; two counts each of: dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities and insurance fraud; and three counts of forgery.

Mark Goldman, Wayne, Chester County, is charged with one count each of: corrupt organizations, theft by deception, attempted theft by deception, conspiracy to commit theft by deception, intimidation of witnesses or victims, obstructing the administration of law, tampering with public records, criminal use of a communication facility and false reports to law enforcement; two counts each of: dealing in proceeds of unlawful activities and insurance fraud; and three counts of forgery.

Richard Holston, Medford, New Jersey, is charged with one count each of: corrupt organizations, insurance fraud, obstructing the administration of law, theft by deception and perjury.

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